FEELING GREAT: Do you suffer when there is no need to?

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If I’ve heard this question once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.  

“Does physio work for someone like me who ISN’T in a lot of pain. I’m just incredibly stiff everyday and suffering in a way that means I can’t do things as easily as I would like?...

Anne – 52”

Hey, good question.

And the answer: Absolutely.

Take this patient of mine Dave (mid-forties from Darlington).

He once came to me with a back so stiff that he could barely get on and off his road bike.

Was struggling with squash too, but he had very little pain. And well, I’ll let you see what physio did for him in his own words, and why in the end, he opted for physio:

“For me, the real reason I choose physio was because I never feel as though the GP takes stuff like this seriously.

“It seems that because I’m not in loads of pain, they really don’t want to know. And when I have been in pain with my back, the GP just usually gives me painkillers.

“And what’s the point in that?

“Stops the pain for a bit but doesn’t do much to solve the problems in the long run though does it?

“And to be honest, I’m beginning to think the real reason I am so stiff, is because in the past, when I’ve gone to the GP with my bad back, nothing was done to sort it properly. So for me, physio was the only option

“I had to actually get this put right. And not just mask it with a box of paracetamol.”

So physio works if you’re just stiff, too.

But physio isn’t the only answer if you’ve tipped 40 and your day just takes that little bit longer to get going on a morning because you’re as “stiff as a board”.

Sure, physio will help you fast, but there other options.

And with that in mind, here are four quick and easy ways find a life with less stiffness:

1. Swim - daily if possible but at least twice per week. Problems like arthritis are multiplied when you stop or slow down. Swimming offers a very simple and safe way of keeping joints moving and a regular dose of moving in the water is way better than any medication or “magic” pills that promise joint lubrication.

2. Stretch - daily. There isn’t a comprise here. You need to be stretching daily. My tip, seven minutes on a morning when you first get up, seven minutes on a night before bed (doing yoga just before bed can even help you find a much better nights sleep.)

3. Avoid long periods of sitting. You’re better off stretching full out on the couch than you are sitting in a chair for long periods.

4. Walk – for at least twenty minutes per day. Next time you need to make a long phone call, do it on your mobile and take a walk at the same time (And because you release so much more adrenaline doing it this way, this is a really great way to boost confidence. Ideal if it’s an important sales type call…)

Crazy thing is that most people accept stiffness in their life as though it’s normal. It really isn’t.

Stiffness in joints such as back, neck, knee or ankle is a warning sign that something needs to be done – by you.

Accept it at your peril.